Thursday, December 20, 2012

AND THE SHOOTINGS GO ON

The fatal shooting of a man in the St. Claude neighborhood Tuesday morning continued a four-day stretch of violence that has left five people dead in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, and several others wounded.

Five people dead in four days.  The local murders do not often make the national news, but they demand attention.  Clearly we must change our laws and our ways.

The names:

Nathan Johnson, 36
Devanta Thomas, 18
Joseph Wilfred, 56
Lawrence Burt, 18
Vivian Snyder, 56 
In addition to the homicides, New Orleans police are investigating several non-fatal shootings, including a robbery at a popular Uptown eatery that included gun play. Police were called out to “Dat Dog” restaurant in the 5000 block of Freret Street on Monday after an employee was shot in the arm during a robbery.
....

Police are also investigating a shooting near the intersection of North Claiborne Street and Iberville Streets that damaged a school bus. That incident occurred at about 4:37 p.m. The victim told police he was walking home from work when an unknown vehicle approached him and someone began shooting.

The victim was shot four times in the back and legs. A school bus carrying students from an Algiers high school was caught in the crossfire and had a window shattered. One child was hit by flying glass, but no serious injuries were reported.
Though New Orleans is the murder capitol of the country, killings by guns take place all over the land, and we pay little attention unless there is mass murder, and we, as a country, seem to accept this is how we must live.  As I've already said, the estimate of the number of firearms in the country is around 300 million, nearly one for each man, woman, and child in the country.  Will the guns at large be grandfathered in any gun legislation that passes?  That is if any sort of firearms legislation with teeth is enacted...legislation without loopholes large enough to shoot a cannonball through.

Even now, there is a sharp spike in the sale of guns, as there was when the president was first elected and when he was reelected, because, "Obama's gonna ban guns or take away all our guns."  What?  Do these folks plan a stand-off if or when the government comes to take away their guns?  And (Lord help us!) sales of armored backpacks for children are increasing.
The reaction to the Connecticut school shooting can be seen in gun stores and self-defense retailers across the nation: Anxious parents are fuelling sales of armoured backpacks for children while firearms enthusiasts are stocking up on assault rifles in anticipation of tighter gun-control measures.

So.  Will we have firearms legislation with teeth enacted any time soon?  I am not feeling optimistic, but those of us who think we can do better as a people to restore a measure of safety from gun violence should do all we can to pressure our legislators and the president to act.  However, a word of caution: We should not burden the president and Congress with responsibility to do the impossible...say to ban all firearms.  That will not happen.  We must urge action for the best laws possible now and hope to build on the laws later.  We must ban assault weapons and magazines that hold multiple rounds of bullets, and we must have better laws and law enforcement on background checks and better controls on the sale of guns.  Assault weapons are so-named for a reason; they are not defense weapons.  Nor are assault weapons for the purpose of hunting.  Any hunter who needs an assault weapon to kill game is one sorry-ass hunter.

UPDATE: I left out the link to another shooting in Florida:
ST. PETERSBURG — Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law has been cited in hundreds of cases. People have used it to justify shooting, stabbing, killing and maiming would-be intruders, romantic competitors and rival gang members.

And on Sunday, at a pizza joint in St. Petersburg, a man tried to use it as justification for shooting another customer who was yelling at workers because he wasn't getting his order fast enough.
Note: Post edited to correct information about The Globe and Mail.

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